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Not Just Tech: VR Opens the Way for Groundbreaking Creative Ideas



INFLUENCER: Bill McNamara, MPC's creative director, discusses VFX, VR (yes that again) and the endless possibilities for creative work

Not Just Tech: VR Opens the Way for Groundbreaking Creative Ideas

I’m certainly not the first guy to predict that “VR will be big in 2016” (along with food, music, and breathing air) however I can confirm through experience that this does seem to be more than just rhetoric. We developed a significant number of VR projects last year for film studios, brands and film makers and already in 2016 are seeing a tangible increase in projects, knowledge and general interest. Given we are at the dawn of a number of major VR headset hardware launches, it’s great to also see camera technology for capturing 360 improve, making live action VR easier to produce. It’s no secret that whilst live action VR is a wonderful and exciting experience, to actually shoot and post-produce requires a new level of skill and expertise. A word of advice to agencies and brands would be to ensure this territory has well and truly been trodden by your suppliers / partners before commissioning these ambitious creative productions. 

The real excitement with VR however isn’t so much production, but the possibilities for artists and directors to create truly amazing and groundbreaking work. 2016 will hopefully be the year that the VR experience stops being about the tech and opens the way for these new stories and creative ideas to be experienced.  

Aside from our core competency (strong creative traditional broadcast commercials) we are increasingly being challenged to consider content for numerous other channels, particularly within social. This has allowed a number of our artists to express themselves in new and different ways leading to some fantastic work. Adapting their ideas and skills to work in a different medium, to a different audience and within a completely bespoke pipeline, has been really refreshing and we look forward to embracing this approach more over the next 12 months. 

Another increasing avenue that VFX can continue to play a huge part in is OOH and events. Brands will always strive to find bigger and more elaborate ways to launch a new product, and our industry can be instrumental in generating this impact. Our teams have developed some brilliantly unusual work such as the Burberry projection on the Griffith Observatory in L.A. and the Ralph Lauren Polo water projection in central park. We have no doubt that he scale of some of these events will only become larger and more ambitious, again providing another great opportunity for VFX to evolve into different places and spaces.

With all this new stuff it’s easy to forget the old stuff. Music videos have always been, and will always be the perfect platform for extraordinary creative experimentation. We mustn’t ever underestimate this sector and must continue to explore and support new artists, directors and ideas. This applies to our own talent too, sometimes the most interesting new artists and future stars are right under our noses. Developing internal talent is as important if not more so that looking for the latest and collect young director. We’re looking forward to nurturing some of our own future stars this year. Watch this space….

So in conclusion 2016 will see the creative (and VFX) industry continue to evolve into both familiar and uncharted territory, we have a lot to look forward to. On a personal level though I doubt 2016 will ever top what will go down as one of the greatest years of my life. In case you need reminding, New Zealand won the Rugby World Cup, an experience that didn’t require VR goggles or 4K resolution to move me to tears. 



Bill McNamara is Creative Director at MPC

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Genres: People

The Mill London, Thu, 04 Feb 2016 11:10:04 GMT